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Mark Uttech
12-17-2010, 02:39 PM
Onegaishimasu, I would like to know how other dojos are handling age differences in class, especially teenagers who pair up with older folks and look at it as a challenge to strut their stuff.

In gassho,

Mark

Don Nordin
12-17-2010, 03:02 PM
In our Dojo your age does not matter. The class is pretty closely controlled with several black belts on the mat during training. So if anyone has something prove while training I think it would be sorted out quickly

Marc Abrams
12-17-2010, 03:58 PM
My adult class has an age range from 14 years old (freshman in high school) to 71 years old (md- still in active practice). I find that the teens need extra guidance in how to be an uke. Everyone gets along really well for the most part. The 50's crowd tend to act as mentors for the teens. It is a genuinely good learning environment for everybody. I spend a lot of time, energy and effort toward creating and maintaining an integrated, training community.

Marc Abrams

kewms
12-17-2010, 04:15 PM
Onegaishimasu, I would like to know how other dojos are handling age differences in class, especially teenagers who pair up with older folks and look at it as a challenge to strut their stuff.

In gassho,

Mark

At my old dojo, we had a sandan who was older, but strong as an ox from working in construction. We let the teenagers play with him until they learned some manners. Which didn't usually take more than a class or two.

More generally, if your senior students can't handle frisky teenagers, there's a problem with your training that needs to be fixed.

Katherine

Janet Rosen
12-17-2010, 04:32 PM
Our teens are also pretty well indoctrinated into our dojo culture by teaming w/ older adults...sometimes they get a tad out of hand after class playing w/ each other but this little old lady finds that a single throaty roar of "Yame!" accompanied by the schoolmarm stare of death works wonders.....

crbateman
12-17-2010, 10:59 PM
Take the youngster(s) aside and point to the old guy. Then whisper "Don't make him mad..."

Ian Keane
12-18-2010, 01:10 AM
Up until his recent retirement, the oldest student in our dojo was 83. The man stood about 6', was whipcord thin and very strong in his grip, and I don't mean just for his age. He's probably the only student in the dojo I've never heard complain of soreness or injury. I could tell you some stories, but I don't think you'd believe 'em.^^

Nevertheless, age does take a toll. While he could still take ukemi, we couldn't throw him or take him down at full speed. This is, of course, an extreme example, but it illustrates the basic principle.

In our dojo, we teach our students to time the speed of their throws to the speed of the attack. The basic rule is, the stronger your attack, the harder you are thrown. Our students pretty much abide by this rule, and when they don't, they are corrected instantly. This rule is irrespective of age. We've had young students who were not yet up to taking fast ukemi, and older students who preferred it (mostly because, once you know how to do it, fast ukemi is easier on the body).

So teaching students to abide by this rule is one way of keeping the kids from trying to act out on their seniors.

Hanna B
12-18-2010, 03:45 AM
More generally, if your senior students can't handle frisky teenagers, there's a problem with your training that needs to be fixed.


True. "Older folks" does not necessarily equal senior students, though.

Tony Wagstaffe
12-18-2010, 06:48 AM
At my old dojo, we had a sandan who was older, but strong as an ox from working in construction. We let the teenagers play with him until they learned some manners. Which didn't usually take more than a class or two.

More generally, if your senior students can't handle frisky teenagers, there's a problem with your training that needs to be fixed.

Katherine

I just let them play with me if I see them getting a little above themselves.....:D ;) I was still taking full ukemi up until three years ago.... As I have not had a dojo since then.
I'm the/was the oldest as there aren't many takers wanting T/S aikido at novice stage past 45.... The oldest I've had is around the mid 40's.....He went on to do Tai Chi.... He thought it a little more appropriate....
I do advise older people to not expect to do what the youngsters can, but ego does tend to get the better of the men. The oldest, woman member I've had was in her late 30's (with the exception of my wife) but left to go on elsewhere in her career, she was a good student........
I suppose it's realising that you have to be a little easier on the body if at novice level.... Some I steer towards the "softer" styles as they find T/S a little too taxing ukemi wise.....
Swings and roundabouts....:straightf

barron
12-18-2010, 09:41 AM
" With age comes wisdom " OK maybe not. Being in my 59 and year and having started aikido at 48 (and very fit at that time and not so now) I know when to sit out, when to roll and when to break fall. Our classes age range is usually between 15 and 59, flexible to stiff as boards, and short and tall. I agree with the person who mentioned speed of attack. Young bucks in their 20's will react very quickly and not necessarily with smooth and safe technique (for the Uke) if you attack with speed. Also, as a “senior”, I take the responsibility to tell/show my uke what I can handle. If they attack with “vigor” I simply blend and slow the technique down being sure to control their center so they realize (I hope) that speed is not essential for control. If a student still persists in going “hard” (in the throw or pin) I just don’t work with them until someone else softens them up. If I decide to go hard I choose a good Nage/Tori who I trust and make sure I’m good and rested. We’ve never really had a student at our dojo who hasn’t got it, but then again they probably leave or don’t join when they figure out what our “culture” is.

Ketsan
12-18-2010, 02:24 PM
Onegaishimasu, I would like to know how other dojos are handling age differences in class, especially teenagers who pair up with older folks and look at it as a challenge to strut their stuff.

In gassho,

Mark

In my dojo all the yongsters are the seniors.

lbb
12-18-2010, 05:07 PM
We don't have a ton of teenagers. The ones we have either grew up in the dojo and don't have attitude, or they're newbies and don't have any stuff to strut. In general, outside the dojo, I think that younger guys (not just teenagers) get this idea from the culture that because they're male, they're supposed to know how to fight (which makes about as much sense as knowing how to make sushi because you've got Japanese ancestry, but there you go). When they walk into a dojo, of course, they don't know anything, but with some styles they can sort of kid themselves that they can wing it (it's a kick, it's a punch, it's a headlock, how hard can it be?). I think that aikido kind of confounds that, and makes it very clear to any beginner that they don't know what they're doing. Of course, the flip side as I've seen it in our dojo is that a lot of young guys try it once and then leave, and I'm guessing it's because they came in with a "learn to fight" agenda and then quit because they didn't make an immediate connection between their first class and their idea of what fighting skills are.

kewms
12-18-2010, 05:48 PM
True. "Older folks" does not necessarily equal senior students, though.

No. Sorry, I wasn't clear. My suggestion is that frisky teenagers can be routed to the senior students -- of whatever age -- until they acclimate a bit. And if the senior students happen to be older, too, so much the better.

Katherine

RED
12-18-2010, 05:54 PM
I've trained with 80 year old men, and 11 year old girls. Both have something very different, and very valid to teach you about your own Aikido. And I'm of the opinion that everyone pays their dues just like I do, and have just as much of a right to the mat as me, even if they are physically weaker or have more obstacles than me. They deserve a good uke and a good nage, just as much as some one who's my equal physically.

Teens can benefit from working with the elderly, and vise verse. Just by the virtue that some one gives you their body to practice with is a gift, no matter how old or young that body might be.

Michael Hackett
12-18-2010, 06:44 PM
Remember too, that "older" has a different meaning to people of different ages. To a teenager, someone in his late twenties or early thirties is an "older" person. When you speak of older, you may not be talking about someone of retirement age. Maybe Mark can describe his situation a little better.

ninjaqutie
12-19-2010, 12:23 AM
Everyone works with everyone in our dojo. We don't seem to have ego issues in ours, but I imagine it would be handled from the get go and it would be made clear that behavior like that wouldn't be tolerated.

Dave de Vos
12-19-2010, 05:43 AM
In our dojo ages range from about 15 to about 60. Most of the older (40+ years old) students have a dan ranking and/or a solid body. I don't see much correlation between roughness and youth.

One new 17 year old student might be a bit frisky. He is not trying to hurt his uke. He just likes to train energetically I guess. He tends to push and pull as tori, but I feel he does not take my center, which makes it easy for me as an uke to slow it down a bit if needed (and I am new too).

When he is uke, his breakfalls are not yet on par with the energy he puts in his attack. The way he slams himself into the mat looks painful to me, but he does not seem to be bothered.

Mark Uttech
12-19-2010, 07:55 AM
Onegaishimasu. Thanks to everyone who posted; age issues are wonderful discussions, I think.

In gassho,

Mark

B'Dragon
12-20-2010, 12:28 PM
I remember one time we had this "young man', 20ish, in our dojo for a while. He can from another school with, shall I say, a chip on his shoulder. He was a big, strong and stiff, 4th or 3rd kyu with something to prove. When he started getting "frisky" in class (specially the lower white belts) the black belts would gravitate to him. One, so he would not hurt the beginners. And two so we could have our fun with him.

Personally, I would practice doing as prefect technique on him as I could. As hard as he attacked I would return his energy back to him. Which was sometimes quite hard. I would suggest to him to ease up a bit. Because he would try to do hard (or fast) techniques on me. That usually didn't work for him because the were quite sloppy.

Quite the ego this guy had. That was usually what it was all about, him trying to prove his technique. I even spent time doing extra soft, slower and very controlled techniques no matter what he threw at me, as nage or uke. Don't think he ever quite got it.

But back on topic, I've worked from very young to quite senior (80's+) and enjoyed everyone of them.

Peace to All

Eva Antonia
12-21-2010, 05:57 AM
Hello,

in my dojo "adult classes" currently start at 12 years, when my son began aikido it was at 8 years, but then we had lots of kids and it was never a problem.

We have several teenagers but none of them suffers from an excess of strength and energy. It is rather the opposite...they are small and frail, attack like butterflies and are easy to hurt - so we have to take much care of them.

We have lots of aikidoka in the forties, fifties, me included, the teacher included and several reserve teachers included. There are only two young men, one third kyu and one second dan. Age is never a matter; I get the impression that except the teenagers everyone practices rather vigorously, dynamically and no one shrinks away from whatever fall has to be taken. There are obviously preferences who likes to fall how, but no disabilities. Our oldest member is a 70 year old grandfather, at the beginning he had some difficulties because he was too rigid, but he takes ukemi as swiftly and easily as the others of us, and better than most of our teenage white belts.

But when training in Istanbul, most students are in their twenties to forties, the teacher is born in 1981, and I am often the oldest practitioner (with 42 years!) and ALWAYS the oldest women. They always need some time to realise that this makes no difference whatsoever in training...but that's also an important learning process.

Best regards, and a merry Christmas for all who celebrate it!

Eva